India is a land of legends and mythology, and each and every custom that we follow or festival we celebrate is laced with one. One such legend attatched to the much-loved festival is the festival of Holi. The festival of Holi, derives its name from the name of a mythological character, known as ‘Holika’ and Prahlad. In this post, I wanted to share the story of Holi and how you can explain it to your kids. It is the story of extreme faith, devotion and belief. Story of Good over evil.
Once upon a time, there was a demon king, known as Hiranyakashyap. Holika was his sister. Hiranyakashyap after doing tough meditation for years on end received a boon from Lord Vishnuthat no man or animal could kill him either in day or night.
The purpose of Hiranyakashyap behind this boon was to rule the World and force others to follow his orders. He wanted to be worshiped as God. He began his reign of terror on earth unbeatable and unconquerable. Humans had no choice but to treat him like God. After a few years he had a son and he named him Prahlad. Prahlad was a docile child unlike his father and was completely devoted to Lord Vishnu which made his father extremely angry and furious.
Hiranyakashyap was so maddened by the idea of ruling the world that he did not deter to adopt different methods to kill his own son. He tried throwing Prahlad off from a mountaintop. He even tried drowning him in a well but both the times, Prahlad remained unhurt. He tried poisoning Prahlad followed by attempting getting him trampled by wild elephants and closing him in a room with poisonous snakes. To Hiranyakashyap’s, surprise and disappointment, the blessings of Lord Vishnu, saved him each and every time.
Finally, he ordered, Holika to make Prahlad sit in her lap on a pyre. She was given a fireproof shawl to protect herself from being burnt. However, by virtue of Lord Vishnu’s power, the shawl flew from Holika to Prahlad and in turn, it was Holika, the bad intentioned lady who got burnt. Again, Prahlad was safe.
Lord Vishnu could not stand the tortures that were being done against Prahlad and decided to kill Hiranyakashyap who was not ready to repent his actions and choose the right path. Lord Vishnu incarnated as Narasimha, a creature that was half man, half lion and killed Hiranyakashyap at dusk, on his porch steps. As a result, breaking his boon.
Each year Holi is celebrated followed by Holika Dahan bonfire, the night before to mark the victory of good over evil and to propagate the power of good deeds, clear intentions, and bhakti to the world.
While narrating this story to kids, encourage them to follow the good virtues like speaking the truth, respecting elders, doing their work sincerely and important of not being egoistic.
You might also wonder why do we use colours to celebrate Holi?
Again, it is a legend that Krishna, used to play with colours with Radha and other Gopis in Vrindavan and so the trend continues.
The logical reason-
And like always most Indian rituals have a scientific reason, so the reason to play with colours is that they have a positive effect on our body as it strengthens the ions in our body and uplifts our moods and improves health, as per biologist. Also, as summers are setting in by this time, people tend to feel lazy and these colours revitalise them.
Of course, we should use natural and herbal colours that do not cause any damage to the body to really enjoy the festival. Play a happy and a safe Holi :)!!